Edit:Problem is solved, but feel free to reply with any opinions.***

 

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On christmas I told my mom that I wasn't going to pray when it was time for dinner. She respectfully said "That's fine", and went on with her day. When it was time to eat she made everyone hold hands, I said "I'm not praying" she said "You don't have to, but hold hands". I refused and everyone at the table started to glare at me, then start yelling at me till I caved in. 

 

I know it's not technically praying if I hold hands, but it still feels like I'm partaking in an activity that I don't want to be apart of. I don't have a problem with them praying, let them do what they want, but don't make me do join you. And I know this is going to sound completely trivial to a lot of people, but it's still the fucking concept. I mean christians wouldn't hold hands with Muslims to pray, so why should they expect me to do the same? I know my sister just goes along with it (She's an atheist as well), and some of you might. But for what reasons should I HAVE to?

 

When I approached my mother afterwards I merely said "Why did you make me do that, why did you make me pray?". She got hostile towards me, even though my tone was normal. She responded with "You weren't praying, and if you don't want to take part in this family then you can go sit in the corner". I just stopped talking about it after that, I feel like I've just been pressured into something that makes me feel uncomfortable (even if it is a very small issue). 

 

So should I show resistance and go sit in a corner next time this happens, or should I follow the way of the sheep? 

 

 

Tags: christmas, dinner, family, forced, mom, pray, pressured, problems, to

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Forcing you to hold hands during prayer is just one hairs-breadth away from forcing you to pray.  Threatening to disown you over it makes that clear.

 

I have also pretended to pray on occasion--or, at least, made no protestations--depending on the details of the situation.  I don't know the details about Bronson's life and family, so I can't really advise him on how to handle it.  I was just trying to point out alternatives and possible replies he might make should he choose to pursue the issue.

 

He is young and may be better off just going along for now, but he should understand just what he is going along with.

You definitely shouldn't tell them to fuck off.  That would be counterproductive.  You should throw little thought barbs into their memories.  Like:

 

"Well, I guess you need me to pretend so that you can keep up the fantasy that everyone thinks it make sense."

"Well, I guess you need me to pretend so that you can keep up the fantasy that everyone thinks it make sense."

 

This one sentence would make them doubt why they feel the need to subdue their traditions upon me.

If  you use it, save it for a non-confrontational moment and say it in a non-confrontational way, like, "I get it, Mom,..."  Then drop it.  Especially if the person seems to get upset.  Just let him or her think about it.  It may take years to sink in, after all you're dealing with a lifetime of brainwashing by just such rituals and pretenses, but eventually the seed may sprout.
Well said.

If you were to go to a different country, would you show respect by partaking in their customs, or would you just laugh at their stupidity?

 

I'd ideally do neither. Really it depends on the country and the nature of the tradition. When I stayed with a German family on Christmas one year they were happy to let me sit out on the prayers. Just because one is in another country doesn't mean you should do things that make you uncomfortable. I always politely explain that whatever they are doing makes me uncomfortable due to my culture/beliefs and have never been greeted with hostility no matter the culture or country. I treat them with respect and understanding and in turn I've been treated with respect and understanding. It's too bad this sort of interaction isn't used as often as it should be in families who have differing views and beliefs or lack there of.

I agree Becca.  The key word is polite, and a little goes a long way. 
That my friend, is a matter of opinion.  You see, I am deployed to another country (Army) with different customs as we speak.  "Not actively participating" in their customs is not perceived as disrespect, and most of the people here who are socially competent do in fact respect OUR customs too.  To say that "holding hands is community" is pretty unfair and exclusive to those who don't wish to violated by the insistence of others to grant permission for unwanted touching.  Bronson has a right to be a part of that same community (his family in this case) and have his preference to not be touched for other people's "spiritual" benefit respected.

You can alienate your family or not

 

Why does it have to be one or the other? There are many situations were one can both stand up for themselves and not alienate their family or friends. If a tradition religious or not at home or abroad makes you uncomfortable why participate to keep the peace when it is entirely possible to keep the peace by politely stating that I am uncomfortable participating in that tradition due to me beliefs or lack there of.

She violated your wish after granting a pseudo respect. 

 

I liken this to someone telling you to shoot someone, and you then say "I don't believe in shooting people for no reason."  

 

Then they say , "Ok you don't have to shoot them." 

 

Then when the time comes around, a few people all start shooting a gun at a person , and demand that you just 'hold the gun' ... while someone else pulls the trigger.  Then they throw a fit and threaten you with some odd guilt and punishment for not participating in their communal efforts to shoot someone.  

 

Part of group praying is the group.  If you wish to not pray in a group, you must avoid the group behaviour.  Your mother was being dishonest and disrespectful.  Holding hands is not in any way avoiding the action of 'praying' ... as many in that group that are holding hands are just sitting there silently and not really thinking 'bout much I can assure you. 

 

I am totally with you as you let her know BEFORE the dinner took place , so as not to alarm and cause a scene.  

 

But you didn't suspect they would be holding hands you would be the odd one out breaking the chain?  : P

I may actually use this metaphor as an example, thanks!
I must say i dislike the whole hand holding vibe myself, i do it as a sort of familial obligation and like many others here i will look at the clouds or the room, an interesting spider etc. They know i dont believe it and will often yawn half way through. It is a ridiculous custom many of us seem to tolerate simply to keep the peace, they wont change and its not worth my time to argue with them generally. They dont listen anyway and there are more important places to fight this battle.

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